Debate over ballot Question 1 intensifying

Boston Statehouse

As we get closer to election day, the debate is intensifying over ballot Question 1. 

Ballot Question 1 would cap the number of patients assigned to a nurse at any given time, but many health organizations are questioning exactly how much this mandate would cost, and if they’ll be able to afford it.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association, a big supporter of Question 1 predicts the new policy would cost the state’s 67 hospitals anywhere from 35 to 47 million dollars. 

In opposition, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association put the cost somewhere in the $1.3 billion range just for the first year. 

Back in May, House Minority leader Bradley Jones, Jr. asked the Health Policy Commission to conduct a study to consider the merits and potential consequences of the nursing staff proposal. 

On Wednesday, The Massachusetts Association sent a letter to the Health Policy Commission requesting research to break down the spending increase into a per member, per month figure. 

The letter read in part, “this is an issue of important significance that could result in increases in premiums for employers and consumers, in varying amounts based on different studies.” 

Health insurers said it would be very helpful if the commission could complete their analysis before the annual cost trends hearing which is scheduled for mid-October. 

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